As a traveling, independent personal trainer, I get the opportunity to visit a lot of different gyms here in New York City. I train clients in their apartment building gyms, office gyms, and specialized training gyms. I tend to overhear conversations other trainers have with their clients not because I'm nosy (okay, maybe I'm kind of nosy), but because these gyms tend to be small enough where at times, I feel like I'm on top of someone else's session. A reoccurring statement I often hear is "I don't know, I just like to eat! So I'm never gonna be that thin." "I like to eat!" What???? You like to eat?!?!? Wow, me too! I like eating! I like not feeling hungry because being hungry means I get hangry, and tired, and low on energy, and weak, and snippy, and my stomach hurts, and my workouts suck. I like delicious meals that aren't always considered the most healthy calorie wise, but they are healthy for my soul because they taste so delicious and I can't be a robotic healthy eater all the time. I like to eat things like fresh fruits and veggies, but I also like to eat pizza and drink a great glass of wine with it.
Listen, guys, we are human. Humans are supposed to eat. Humans are supposed to LIKE to eat. This is because we need to nourish our bodies to stay fit, healthy, energetic, and happy. We (especially women) are supposed to have some fat on our bodies because it's healthy! Our bodies store some fat because our bodies want to make sure that in case you aren't eating due to some massive famine or nuclear holocaust, it can survive for longer. For women, the extra fat is there not only in case food isn't always available, but also to help support a baby should you get pregnant and there is a famine and it needs something to feed the human that is growing inside of you.
That's the realness right there! That is the the most basic reasoning for hunger--sustaining human life. The crazy thing about needing to eat is now that we have magazines, television shows, movies, and internet telling us what is appealing visually at the moment (I say at the moment because you know the trends change over time--i.e. Marilyn Monroe to Twiggy, "Twiggy" butt to "Anaconda" butt), and that's generally not very human attainable. We see flat, 6-pack abs on a magazine cover, then look at our own midsection and we might think that not eating is what we should be doing. We might think that eating is bad. That "I like to eat" is a statement that is farfetched or taboo. Guys, it. is. NOT.
When you see those muscles that pop out of someone's stomach on a magazine cover, a lot of times, it is because the model has dehydrated themselves to the point where their skin looks tighter on their muscles and more appealing for the cover. Or let's face it, it's just plain photoshopped! Body builders often take the dehydration approach as well, so that in competition, they look as defined as possible. Google "body builder dehydration" and the Google at the bottom of the page will extend several 'o's.' I.e. there are a lot of resources that will help you learn how to get super defined for a competition and not drinking water is one of ways to do that. What?!?! That's crazy talk. The human body is around 60% water. So how is dehydrating a good thing for you? Also, what happens when that model drinks water again??? Those 6-pack abs become an illusion. AN ILLUSSSIIOOONNN!!!!!
You can be lean and not dehydrate and not starve yourself. You should never do either of those things. You should be drinking lots of water to flush your system of toxins. You should be eating lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains to support your muscle mass. If you aren't eating enough, your body tends to hold on to fat and start to cannibalize muscle just in case that famine/nuclear holocaust happens and you need the fat as a last resort/last ditch effort for your body to to save itself. It's true! Isn't that horrible? So eat!!! Your body wants you to reassure it that the next meal is coming and it doesn't need to store fat, just in case...
Stay tuned for the Part II of this blog post for great ideas and options to stay lean and mean and EAT!!!! And you don't have to have 6-pack abs to be lean. Being healthy means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Some people will hold on to more fat than others and that's okay. That's life. That's YOU.